Ryan Bridge: Is the Governments road announcement too whimsical?

Opinion 29/01/2020

By Ryan Bridge, Drive Show host.

I thought after yesterday when we were speaking about the lack of achievement that this government has displayed over the last two years. I thought we should give credit where credit is due, this is by far and away the best day that this Labour government has had in office so far.

Without a doubt it hasn’t got a scratch on anything else. This is the best day in terms of government announcements from this government since they formed just over two years ago.

12 billion dollars on infrastructure, much needed, The Business Advisory Council has been crying out for this. This is a bunch of business leaders that the government appointed to try and sort out the state that we're in at the moment.

They have been calling for this for years, business leaders have been calling for this for years.

If you live in Auckland congratulations you’re getting a whole bunch of new roads, if you live in Tauranga and you'll be screaming out for this. I can hear Peter at the rest home screaming for a new road out of town you've got it.

Northland you got a little bit, Wellington you get more rail than road but that’s your fault because you're so green, Queenstown you get a little bit too. It's the best announcement that they have ever made. 

Billions of dollars into much-needed infrastructure and largely on roads, if you break down the numbers. This is where it gets really interesting, you break down the numbers of all that they are spending on transport, 80% of it's going on roads 80%.

This from a government who's done nothing but talk about climate change being a nuclear free moment, about these roads of national significance from the National Party been absolute codswallop and a waste of time, and the business case doesn't stack up.

Have a listen to this, this is what Phil Twyford wrote in a newspaper column for a local newspaper in Tauranga:

He said this, “building another gold plated expressway is not the answer”, this is your transport minister who's now building it ok, “building another gold plated expressway is not the answer, international study after international study has shown the more roads you build the more congestion you have. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

He's literally called future Phil insane!

You couldn't script it, how could they be so stupid? I mean they're doing the right thing. It's the right decision by the wrong people.

These guys have twiddled their thumbs for the last two and a bit years wondering, ‘what should we do, do we do this, will that win us votes or will that lose us votes?’ So concerned with her own electability while idly sitting by as traffic banked up from Tauranga to Auckland, banked up across Auckland, banked up in Christchurch.

Now finally some working group or some panel or some focus group has decided that roads are actually a good thing. Which anyone could have told them from the start, not only are they good for regional economic development, they’re good for votes.

Roads get you re-elected.

If you build a road in someone's backyard and they're no longer struggling to get to work, they'll be happy about that. So anyway they’ve gone and done it and I say good on them, but it's the right decision by the wrong people.

If this was their intention all along, you've got to be joking with me this has not been their intention all along. Listen to them during the election campaign railing against Nationals roads, the Greens there at their side talking about climate change.

You can't tell me this was their intention all along.

Which means this is almost whimsical, policy on the hoof.

Whether they do it or not is another question, but do you really want a government that's whimsical? Do you want a government that decides when it wakes up what it's going to do that day rather than paying it at least a couple of weeks in advance?

No you don't, of course you don't, that's not what you want in the government.

Ryan Brisge is host of the Drive Show, Weekdays 4-7pm.